Release of poll results for the proposed commuter rail

Darian Graivshark

Poll data from 1,050 registered voters in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans, St. James, and St. John Parishes was released on Wednesday, April 17.

The poll was initiated by The Southern Rail Commission (SRC), Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), and GNO, Inc. to gauge support of residents for restoring a railway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The railway is part of the Gulf Coast Passenger Rail Network.

The Gonzales train station is a historical location, mentioned in the conference. The Baton Rouge station is anticipated to be located by 14th and 15th Street near Downtown.

The poll began on February 28, 2019 and concluded on March 10. It showed compelling support for funding and riding the passenger rail. Jennifer Johnson conducted the poll.

When mentioning the passenger rail, only about eight percent of voters knew anything about the proposed rail. Twenty-four percent didn't know much, thirty-one percent knew some information on it, and thirty-seven percent had heard nothing about it.

Despite the large number of voters not knowing about the rail prior to voting, seventy-five percent of them had a positive reaction towards it being an alternative to driving between New Orleans and Baton Rouge after having been informed about the plan.

After hearing the description of the passenger rail, sixty-three percent said they were very likely, or somewhat likely, to utilize the service. In a 2014 study, 2,010 people said they would use the rail to commute from Baton Rouge to Gonzales and LaPlace to New Orleans.

Results that were presented also showed that fifty-one percent of voters support the rail service, even if they said they were not likely to use it themselves. Eighty-two percent of those voters agreed that it would help eliminate some traffic congestion on I-10.

Anticipated ticket prices are ten to fifteen dollars one way. Seventy-seven percent of those voters said they are more likely to ride at the price of $15 dollars, while eighty-seven percent said they're more likely to ride at the price of $10 dollars.

Before voting in the fall, sixty-one percent of the respondents would like to know if candidates for Governor and state legislature support, or oppose, the passenger rail line.

Due to the continued economic growth of the southeast Louisiana Super Region, it is critical to re-establish the rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, according to BRAC, SRC, and GNO, Inc. The Super Region includes more than 2.2 million people, and nearly 1 million jobs.

Follow Darian on Twitter @dariangshark.